Fish, Eggs, and the Holy Sprit

by Robert Jacobs

I was sent on a mission. A mission of the utmost importance…to bring my wife back the perfect berry crêpe.

Okay, maybe this task was not as important as I make it sound. However, my wife had been feeling under the weather and a berry crêpe sounded wonderful to her. Because we are in the midst of packing the house for a move, almost all of my kitchen supplies were inaccessible, making it impossible for me to cook the treat she desired. Thus, I was on the hunt.

After consulting some online reviews, I was out of my driveway and on the road. By the time I got to the café, my wife had already had a chance to look at the menu online and had decided on the “Wild Berry Crêpe.” Foolishly, I did not re-read the text message she sent me, causing me to confidently approached the counter and order one “Mixed Berry Crêpe.”

The man at the counter looked at me blankly. Thinking I had not annunciated my order clearly, I again ordered a Mixed Berry Crêpe. Again, a blank stare.

At this point, another employee came over to check on the problem. I once again ordered a Mixed Berry Crêpe and the woman kindly informed me that they did not have a crêpe by that name. I panicked. Did I read the message wrong? Did they change the menu and not update the website?

As I looked over the menu, I realized my mistake and promptly ordered a Wild Berry Crêpe. With that one word correction, every confusion was resolved. The crêpe was made, delivered, and eaten.

So, why am I telling you this story of pastry woe? I think that a lot of times we are asking God for a Mixed Berry Crêpe when we really need a Wild Berry Crêpe. How so? Let me explain.

While teaching on the nature and purpose of prayer, Jesus told his disciples,

What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:11-13

By contrasting the supposed goodness of man with the true goodness of God, Jesus demonstrates the extent of our Heavenly Father’s love. God offers us greater gifts than our earthly fathers could ever hope to dream of. Yet Jesus also creates a distinction between the physical and the spiritual. The Heavenly father does not give a “fish” or an “egg,” but He gives the Holy Spirit, part of Himself.

I often find that my prayer life is full of me asking for fish and eggs rather than me asking for more of God. According to Jesus’ teaching, though, the greater gift is God, not more of this world. How many hours have I spent praying for an egg when what I truly needed was Him? Unfortunately, more than I can count.

We have to ask ourselves, am I asking God for the right things? Many times we pray fervently for that perfect companion, for that promotion at work, or even for temptation to be removed from our life. But in those prayers, are we asking for an egg or are we asking for Him? Are we asking for more of this world or a deeper relationship with Him? I cannot help but wonder if many of our supposedly unanswered prayers are the result of God waiting for us to ask for the greater gift: Himself.